Holmgren v. United States
217 U.S. 509 (1910)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Holmgren v. United States, 217 U.S. 509 (1910)

Holmgren v. United States

No. 132

Argued March 9, 1910

Decided May 16, 1910

217 U.S. 509

Syllabus

The validity, under Art. I, § 8, cl. 4, of the Constitution, of the Acts of Congress regulating naturalization of aliens and authorizing naturalization proceedings in state as well as federal courts, has never been questioned.

Although Congress may not create courts for the states, it may authorize a state court to enforce in a prescribed manner a federal statute relating to a matter within federal control, and may punish the offense of perjury if committed in such a proceeding in a state court, as well as in a federal court.

One falsely swearing in a naturalization proceeding, whether in a state or in a federal court, is punishable under § 5395, Rev.Stat.

The Revised Statutes were compiled under authority of the Act of Congress of June 27, 1866, c. 140, 14 Stat. 75, the purpose of which was revision and codification and not the creation of a new system of laws, and the Court will not infer, in the absence of clearly expressed intent, that Congress, in adopting the Revised Statutes, intended to change the policy of the laws, United States v. Rider,110 U. S. 729, and so held that §§ 5395 and 5429, adopted from the Act of July 14, 1870, c. 254, 16 Stat. 254, in regard to naturalization should be construed so as to continue to include the penalties for perjury in all naturalization proceedings notwithstanding that, owing to rearrangement, § 5395 was not one of the five preceding sections to § 5429, as was its corresponding section in the Act of 1870 to the corresponding section in that act from which § 5429 was taken.

An objection to the jury taking an indictment with indorsement of prior conviction thereon into the jury room should be taken at the trial. If not taken until the motion for new trial, it cannot be reviewed on error.

Although this Court may, under Rule 35, notice a plain error not assigned, it will not exercise the authority, if the error did not prejudice plaintiff in error, and so held in this case in regard to the objection that the jury had taken into the jury room an indictment

Page 217 U. S. 510

with indorsement thereon of former conviction, it also having the indorsement thereon of the granting of a new trial.

An objection that a count in the indictment does not charge a crime because the wrong name was written in at one point by mistake must be taken in the demurrer or on the trial; unless it substantially affected the right of the accused, it come too late in this Court for the first time.

While the court should caution the jury against relying on uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice, it cannot assume as a fact, when controverted, that a witness was an accomplice and that his testimony required corroboration.

156 F. 439 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the validity of a conviction for perjury under § 5395, Rev.Stat., for false swearing in a naturalization proceeding in a state court, are stated in the opinion.

Page 217 U. S. 515

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